Rhapsody in Blue: The Bulgarian Literary Projection of America Cover Image
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Rhapsody in Blue: Българският литературен проект на Америка
Rhapsody in Blue: The Bulgarian Literary Projection of America

Author(s): Yulia Yordanova
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN
Keywords: emigration; America; literature; Dalchev; Vulev

Summary/Abstract: This paper presents the subject of the image of America in Bulgarian works of literature: from the traditional folklore on the subject of emigration, through the Bulgarian travelogue prose and poetry up to the present-day pop song. This broad framework, in terms of genres and time period, is offset by the emphasis laid on the period around the 1930s, when the most sweeping emigration wave began from Bulgaria to America, and when a number of works of art were produced in this connection. A sui generis centre of the comparative textological analysis is Atanas Dalchev’s poem “Novelette”, dated 1925. It build the image of America as the radical Strangeness with respect to the modern Bulgarian of the post-Liberation period, who was becoming already Europeanised. Gravitating around this were all the other pieces of writing on the subject of that time: the labour songs of the Banat Bulgarians of the 1930s, the travelogues by Boris Shivachev and Svetoslav Minkov, and the short stories by Matvei Vulev dated to that period. In a broader perspective, works preceding and appearing in the wake of Dalchev’s poem have been considered like Aleko Konstantinov’s travelogue “To Chicago and Back” of the 1890s, and pieces of contemporary Bulgarian poetry, mostly of the 1990s, including also a popular song of Todor Kolev from the last decade of the 20th century. The phrase “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring in the title of this paper points to the extraliterary criticism of the study which, alongside the Bulgarian literature in prose and in verse covers the songs from traditional folklore, to present-day pop music. It also presents the general idea of America persisting in Bulgarian arts and culture and converging around the semantics of the English word “blue”. The paper takes advantage of the homonymy of this word in the title of Gershwin’s Rhapsody, in order to consider the ambivalent image of America: as an image “in blue colour”, symbolising freedom...

  • Issue Year: 2000
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 113-120
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: Bulgarian